Is your social media strategy working? Measure it!
The basic starting point for measuring your earned social media presence and social media strategy is as simple as the basic starting point for measurement of editorial media: everything should start from your organization’s current objectives. From these, communications team should come up with its social media goals and relevant metrics to track the success of the goals. These social media goals should support the wider objectives of the organization.
Not only monitoring and metrics
One example of a social media goal to help in achieving a broader organizational objective could be “to improve the public perception of your organization”. In this case, you could map the sentiment of your organization at the start of the tracking period and then track changes in sentiment of social media mentions over time. If all goes according to the plan, the sentiment metric should show green light, such as a rise in the number of favourable mentions compared to the start of the tracking period.
However, metrics alone are not enough. Your social media monitoring, done cleverly and with help of top technology, helps you in identifying the data that may need to be measured. Also, good monitoring is a prerequisite for valid analysis. To explain the positive change in sentiment metric, you need analysis and insight. Only with analysis, you are able to say what a number is actually telling you. For instance, you might be able to attribute the favourable change in sentiment to PR activities carried out by your communications team.
Insight explains the “why”
Instead of focusing on popularity metrics, you should be interested in measuring what really matters in order to succeed in your social media strategy. If you want to find out who are the most influential people in social media to your organization, information about how many Twitter followers a certain Miss X has is not relevant by itself, at least no more than a book can be judged by the number of words it contains. What could make Miss X relevant to your organization? It could be the industry knowledge that she possesses, or the expert status she enjoys in your branch, or the number of times that her Twitter updates get re-tweeted or commented. Again, here analysis comes in handy.
In case the social media insights you are provided with only focus on volume or on writing down what you can already see in graphs, then you are not really buying analysis and insight, but a report. For analysis, you need human brain power able to bring context to data and to explain meanings. Insights help you in deciding how well you have succeeded in reaching your goals, in planning your future PR actions, catching weak signals and upcoming trends in the industry, as well as showing the value of your work to those people who matter to you in your organization.
To quote measurement expert and current CEO of Prime Research Richard Bagnall, “insight is not an observation, it explains the “why”. Insight takes time, thought, research and understanding”.
By Topi Laakso